Fantasy Mailbag  


Chris Johnson won't be a typical featured runner


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What sort of impact will Chris Johnson make with the New York Jets? Will he warrant a pick in one of the first four rounds? -- @MykeJohns (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: Johnson should lead all Jets running backs in backfield touches in 2014, but that doesn't mean he'll be a true featured runner like he was in Tennessee. In fact, he's guaranteed to lose work to Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. I wouldn't be surprised to see him rush for fewer than 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and his touchdowns don't seem likely to increase (compared to 2013) with Ivory in the mix. In all, I'm looking at Johnson as a No. 3 fantasy back who shouldn't come off the board until Round 5 at the earliest.

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I'm thinking LeSean McCoy should be the first overall pick. Do you? -- @Hadachek23 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I have Adrian Peterson ranked ahead of McCoy, but you can't go wrong with either running back. If you're afraid that A.D. is more of a risk because of his age (29) and career workload, then it makes all the sense in the world to pass on him in favor of McCoy. Overall, you really can't make an obvious mistake taking Peterson, McCoy or Jamaal Charles with the No. 1 overall selection.

Who are the biggest sleepers for 2014? Also, can Josh Gordon repeat the level of production he had last season? -- @JamesOToole (via Twitter)

M.F.: I'll give you one sleeper for each of the top four skill positions. At quarterback, I'm going with Johnny Manziel. If he lands with a team that allows him a chance to start as a rookie, look out! At running back, Toby Gerhart fits the bill. Think about a poor man's Michael Turner after he left San Diego for Atlanta. A solid sleeper wide receiver is Cordarrelle Patterson. I love this kid's upside in an offense that will allow him more than his share of opportunities to produce. At tight end, watch out for Zach Ertz in Philadelphia. As for Gordon, I think he can repeat his 2013 totals and remain one of the league's elite fantasy wideouts. Remember, he produced his NFL-best 227.40 fantasy points in just 14 games.

Which running back would you draft in 2014: C.J. Spiller or Ray Rice? -- @briangrandy (via Twitter)

M.F.: This is a close call, but I'm going with Rice. I like the addition of new Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who has had quite a bit of success in the past with running backs ... names such as Clinton Portis, Arian Foster and Steve Slaton come to mind. Rice (27) isn't an "old" back either, and I still see him as the main man in the team's backfield ahead of Bernard Pierce. On the other hand, I can't say the same thing about Spiller. He was the second-best fantasy runner on his team in 2013, as Fred Jackson finished 10th in points at the position. And while I would project Spiller to pass him in terms of points next season, Jackson is going to be a prominent part of that offense.

Which quarterback should be drafted first next season: Nick Foles or Andrew Luck? -- N. Eagles (via Facebook)

M.F.: I'm going with Luck, who seems primed to continue his push into fantasy stardom in 2014. The Stanford product finished fourth in fantasy points among quarterbacks last season, scoring just 5.08 fewer points than Cam Newton. Heading into 2014, I have Luck ranked behind only the "Big Three" of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Assuming the Indianapolis Colts improve their offensive line via the draft, Luck could be even better next season with Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks at his disposal in the pass attack. As for Foles, he loses a little bit of his luster without DeSean Jackson but remains one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football.

What are your thoughts on Roddy White? Do you see him being worth a second- or third- round selection? -- @jmeisnergbp (via Twitter)

M.F.: I wouldn't draft him in one of the first three rounds, but I do like White as a potential draft bargain in 2014. The veteran was limited due to injuries for most of last season, resulting in his worst statistical campaign since 2006. However, take a look at his totals over the final five weeks. Not only did he catch eight or more passes in four of those contests, but White also posted 140-plus yards twice and found the end zone in each of his final two games. With Julio Jones back from an injured foot and Atlanta's offense back to full strength, I'm expecting White to bounce back and become a nice No. 2 fantasy wideout. He could be had at some point in the fifth or sixth round.

I admit to being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, but is Dez Bryant worth a first-round pick next season? -- @wrightnick6 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I don't think any receiver outside of Calvin Johnson is worth a first-round pick in a standard re-draft, and even Megatron shouldn't come off the board until late in that stanza. With that being said, Bryant does have a shot to overtake Johnson and Gordon among fantasy wideouts next season. The addition of OC Scott Linehan is a huge move, as he loves to throw the ball (coincidentally, he coached Megatron while in Detroit). Bryant is also in a contract year, so he'll have added motivation to produce in the stat sheets. While he's not a first-rounder, Bryant is a lock in Round 2.

Which of the sophomore running backs is worth a first- or second-round pick in 2014 drafts? -- @ventidrip13 (via Twitter)

M.F.: There are more than a few of those runners entering 2014, that's for sure. Eddie Lacy is going to be a first-round pick in most leagues, while Le'Veon Bell and Montee Ball will also enter the first-round conversation. Assuming the St. Louis Rams don't draft a running back in May, Zac Stacy won't make it out of the second round in standard and PPR formats. Other second-season runners who could be worth as much as a late second-round selection (or no less than a third-rounder) include Giovani Bernard and Andre Ellington.

Who will have a better fantasy season in Chicago: Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery? -- @gsemerikov (via Facebook)

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M.F.: Jeffery sure was fantastic last season, posting career highs across the board while finishing eighth in fantasy points among wide receivers. Still, it's tough to rank him ahead of a proven, durable athlete like Marshall. He finished fifth in fantasy points among wideouts last season and has been an absolute star at the position (aside from his time with the Miami Dolphins). Marshall, 30, is also in a contract year and should have added motivation to produce in the stat sheets. I have him projected as a surefire second-round pick, with Jeffery coming off the board in Round 4.

Which tight end will replace Tony Gonzalez in the fantasy football world? -- @mackdis7 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I'm not sure you can replace a consistent, durable and productive future Hall of Famer like Gonzalez, but here are a few candidates: Dennis Pitta is going to be in a position to break out in Baltimore, even with Owen Daniels on the roster. I also like Jordan Reed to make some waves in Washington, and Kyle Rudolph is a nice sleeper in the offense of new coordinator Norv Turner. Other tight ends to watch include Ertz, Garrett Graham, Tyler Eifert, Dwayne Allen and Ladarius Green.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!


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